Follow-Up

When I first started volunteering, I would often ask, “What happened to (fill in name of rabbit here)?”  I became obsessed with knowing the next chapter for the rabbits that I helped care for after they were adopted out.  While records were kept from the beginning of the group’s existence, there wasn’t much follow-up that happened, unless initiated by the adopter themselves.  It was not a matter of disinterest or indifference; it was simply impossible for the number of consistent volunteers to keep in touch with over a decade’s worth of adopters.

I took the database that was kept at the time and pieced together what I could, reaching out to past adopters to check in, see how rabbit-family life was going and make sure all were current on veterinary check-ups.  I heard back from many and said prayers for the rest.  Not long after, an adopter suggested we create a Facebook group where adopters, foster families and volunteers could connect.  I believe she was looking for a bunny-sitter at the time of her idea.  After some careful imploring, I got the go-ahead from the directors to create such a group.

In some ways, I think of the group selfishly.  I was once obsessed with finding a way to follow up with the lives of our former foster rabbits.  The group fills that need.  Just about every family who adopts joins.  I can get updates on just about any-bunny and smile so big when I see how great they are doing.  But even better than that, the group has become a beautiful place for encouragement and support.   It’s like 24/7 customer service swirled with the loving care of people who choose to spend their free time saving and caring for these abandoned buns who need us.

I’m glad this crossed my mind today because I’m sitting here smiling with pride—I belong to a group filled with outstanding support, like-minded people who’ve hopped together for the greater good of our hoppy little friends.  And while we’re on the subject, are your babies up-to-date on their check-ups?  Just following up!  Much love.

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Balance

I’m always Even Stephen (your inclination might be to spell Stephen with a V here but I must pay appropriate homage to my uncle/best friend/birthday buddy and remain PH balanced).  There’s something magical in balance of things.  Maybe it’s because I was raised by a Libra; my mother is the one always making sure everyone else is happy and their needs are met.  When you ask her where she wants to go to dinner on her birthday, she’ll invariably say, “Wherever you want to go.”  It’s not that she doesn’t care for herself—she just likes harmony and draws on her roots as the oldest of four children when she lets others make the decisions.  It’s not indecisiveness nor is it laziness—it’s preservation of peace and balance.  But enough about her.

We all joked and prayed that 2017 would bring us out of the hardships of 2016 (and yes, I know that a slew of celebrities dying isn’t quite a hardship compared to some of the actual tough stuff that this human experience can bring but ssshhhhh, I’m writing here).  2017 was like 2016+… or +++ for some people.  But, to paraphrase Mama Ru, a butterfly doesn’t know what’s happening in that cocoon.  Just a happy little caterpillar spins this intense cocoon and the metamorphosis is violent!  Then, out flaps this gorgeous creature that we marvel at… heck, I have 4 butterflies tattooed on me.  So here’s to hoping that 2016 and 2017 were our cocoon years and we bust out with pretty wings, using our feet to taste in 2018.

Whenever the transition is complete, we can’t forget the tough stuff.  That’s the necessity in the balance.  We are all energy, sitting or standing or lying on energy, holding energy, surrounded by energy.  That energy changes form and function but it doesn’t go away.  It finds its balance.  So if you’re feeling lonely, empty, too full, pulled in too many directions or even directionless, sit, breathe and allow the balance to rush in.  Surrender to the energy.  Do the next right thing without grabbing for 5 steps in the future or being tethered to a perceived misstep in the past.  It may take longer than you want or expect and it will often take a different form that you want or expect, but the balance will come.  Allow the peace to fill your heart, your soul and your space today as we transition into another glorious year.  Much love.

Moving Parts

What didn’t happen yesterday in our little Rescue world?  I’ll just timeline it for you:

7:21 am: The first email inquiry of the day from a parent wanting a rabbit as Christmas gift for a young child arrived in our inbox.

NOT Holiday Gifts
Photo Credit: D.C.

8:15 am: Assembled a team of volunteers to standby for the potential influx of emails like the aforementioned, in effort to educate these well-meaning families that living things are not toys.

9:00 am: Volunteers cleaned, fed and snuggled buns at our main foster home.

10:00 am: Ontario, adopted out last year, was transported back by volunteers to our main foster home, as her family could no longer care for her.  Welcome back, sweet girl.

Ontario
Photo Credit: LIRRG

11:00 am: Secured a foster home for the “Frat Party Rabbit.”  A father contacted us during the week that his daughter saved a rabbit from a college fraternity party but they could not keep the rabbit long term.  Volunteers then sprung into action, once foster home was secured, to transport rabbit from rescuer’s home to foster home.

Throughout the Day: Emails are thankfully and surprisingly slow… or it just felt that way because I had a lot of great help!  Connected 4 potential adopters to volunteers for screening and helped a few other emailers with questions.

3:33pm: Lil’ B, a boy from our recent big rescue in Baldwin, is adopted as husbun to LIRRG alum Brooke.  That makes 51 adoptions in 2017, just one shy of our goal.

4:00 pm: “Frat Party Rabbit” picked up by loving volunteer and father of rescuer gave very generous donation.  Bun is transported to foster home and is now a member of our sorority; she’s a young lop-eared lady.

Frat Party Bun
Photo Credit: N.S.

6:23 pm: Two strays that a former adopter has seen in her neighborhood (and offered to foster if we help catch) are spotted.  Team springs into action and heads way out east.  One rabbit is brought to safety… turns out this case is far more complicated than two abandoned rabbits and the authorities are called in.

6:33 pm: Compiled the volunteer coverage schedule for the upcoming week.  Grateful to the solid team of helpers!

8:01 pm: LIRRG alum (and my tiniest niece) Laila Bunny is not eating and her temperature is low.

8:55 pm: I leave the house (in my pajamas) to medicate Laila Bunny.  She seems to be getting better (but she didn’t get better overnight and has been hospitalized this morning).

9:43 pm: Volunteer who sustained scratches at the evening catch texts me to ask if Sacred Frankincense will work on her skin like “regular” Frankincense will.  Yes… and I love the crossover between my Rescue and wellness worlds, lots of people living lives of wellness and purpose.

 

I think I got everything… and that’s just the “stuff” that I helped with; we have quite the kick-ass team out there, saving as many as we can!

Retreat Yourself

In late June 2014, I wrote a note in my phone of three simple “I am” statements to set the tone for my summer.  Pushing aside the millions of things to get done and ways to make two months off from the day job count, I set these “I am” statements at the core of my desires for that time.  At the heart of all of the “stuff” I had to do and wanted to do that summer, my true intentions were in these “I am” statements.  I typed:

I am

-reading.

-practicing yoga.

-mindful.

I didn’t even know what mindful meant or why I typed it— it just appeared there on the screen.  I am mindful… ok.  Let that sit.

I found a yoga studio near to where we were living.  I signed up for a month unlimited and then another month unlimited.  I took classes 3-5 times per week for the entire summer.  I am practicing yoga…  finally.  For months before that, I was thinking about it.  And I was telling myself that I “should” be practicing yoga.  But I never seemed to quite get around to it.  I let everything else jump the line and take up my precious time.  All it took was setting that clear intention: I am practicing yoga.  Like magic, I was.

I found two teachers whose style and energy matched what I was seeking in my practice and made darn sure to show up at their classes.  I dove all in, as I’m prone to do.  One of those teachers offered free guided meditation after classes, as the schedule allowed.  I stayed.  She shared about her practices, her studies through UMass. Medical School in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and her “real life” applications of these simple-yet-complex practices.  She had something here.  I hung on every word.

A friendship blossomed.  At the time, I hadn’t consciously revisited my note in my phone with my summer intentions, my “I am” statements.  But I was learning about mindfulness, that word I typed without knowing why.  My new mediation coach and friend recommended books that she was reading.  We started to hang out.  We shared this glorious spark of brilliance.  I knew I found a soul sister in Debbie.  Toward the end of August 2014, while rolling up my yoga mat after one of Debbie’s last yoga classes for the summer, I opened the notes in my phone… and there it was: I am mindful.  I manifested a practice, a coach and a friend with three words.  Don’t question the process.  Be open to being guided.  Set the intentions that are in your heart and take the action steps as they unfold.

This past Thursday, I had the honor of sitting at a full-day retreat of over 100 educators led by my soul sister Debbie and her colleague in mindfulness Cory.  They led us through the practices and applications of this life-saving, life-expanding gift called Mindfulness.  They are the real-deal.  I, who often cannot exhale without checking my phone 17 times, did not even check the time from 7:30 am until 4:35 pm.  That’s the magic that Debbie and Cory shared.

We learned about our relationship to stress, how to be with what is here, how to develop our mental fitness… I could go on and on.  I took 17 pages of notes.  But, if I can share only one take-away with you, it is this: replace resistance with curiosity.  Approach your day with an element of awe and wonder.

Debbie, I bow to you.  I am mindful.

Topher & Co.

I had the honor of working with Topher, his brother Walter and their sister Nora last week.  Topher and Walter are friendly, active dogs and Nora is a beautiful kitty.  Their mom invited me over specifically to work with Topher but Reiki energy does not discriminate; it goes and flows wherever it is welcome and needed!  Upon my arrival, Walter and Topher greeted me with puppy-like fervor while Nora assessed me from afar.  I love cats for their moments like that—no nonsense, no pretense.  After we talked about some goals for our session, Topher’s mom left us to get down to business!

I anointed myself with Believe essential oil and sat on the floor in their living room.  As I started to tune in to the energy and my guides, Topher sat to my left, leaning his right side against my knee and crossed legs.  The color blue swirled around his energy.  As I worked on his crown chakra, I felt a sense of high alert and was compelled to send him the word “ease.”  When I worked on his throat chakra, I shared with him the message from my guides that he can tell his mom what he needs and she will always hear him.  I also connected with a heaviness on his right side, nothing to be concerned about per se, but just an awareness.

Topher bounced away after some time together and Walter walked over, almost like he had been waiting his turn.  Walter sat in my lap and we connected.  Both doggy brothers allowed lots of hands-on work throughout the session, probably the most I’ve ever had with new clients!  I “got” the “message” that Walter was a lawyer or some sort of negotiator in a past life or, if he were human in this life, that would be his career path.  I connected most with and worked on his sacral and root chakras.

Topher came back over and sat, somewhat at attention, in front of me this time.  I just do my thing and those who need the energy line up!  This time together, I was compelled to work more on his throat and solar plexus chakras.  I worked through his legs, hips and corresponding root chakra as well, sending to him that he is secure.  He “shared” with me that he senses a transition or a new family member.  In our post-session conversation, Topher’s mom confirmed that someone did recently move into their home.  Messages and connections like that are just confirmation for me that the energy is “working,” not that I ever doubted it anyway.

Nora stayed in the next room for the entirety of our session, regally grooming herself and never taking her eyes off of me.  I got a “den mother” vibe from her, as if she feels responsible to keep order in the house.  My closing messages, just from the space in general, were about a middle child energy and the number 7, all of which I shared with Topher, Walter and Nora’s mom in our chat after I closed out the session.  It was truly a beautiful hour with this happy, energetic family.  Topher, if you’re listening, just remember: ease!

Much love.

The Whole Crew
Photo Credit: Their Mom

 

It’s been a Year.

This isn’t about rabbits or Reiki.

A year ago, we said goodbye—well, sort of.  I said I would see you later that week.  I said we would talk more then (and I silently promised to turn my damn phone off at our next visit—no pointless distractions).  I walked out of your front door, it was a Saturday, fully intending to be back maybe on Wednesday, silently promising myself that I would not let the week go by without making time for a visit.  Just like this year, last August was zooming by.  About an hour after I left, you died.

I wonder a lot.  You know my brain is always going, barreling perhaps.  We only knew each other for a touch over two years.  Why was I the second-to-last person to see you in your earthly form?  Do you know how much you changed my life in a span of two years?  Can you fathom just how much you taught me?

If you didn’t leave this dimension when you did, would we still be friends?  Or would I have said something, done something, been something that you didn’t want to be around?  Would we be on the phone right now on this super-cloudy day?  Or would I be sitting here, telling myself that I better make time for you before my long vacation ends?

Ours is one of those friendships that didn’t seem likely but just makes so much darn sense.  16 years apart in age, vastly different families and upbringings.  You, tiny in stature, secure in purpose.  Me, average in size, barreling toward my purpose—you helped me find it.  It’s all your fault, that I’m finally living my dreams.

We bought the house I told you about, but you know that already.  We live so close to you now.  We actually have space to have people come inside the house!  I’m getting better every day.  You helped guide me on this path.  I hear your voice in my head.  I see you in yoga classes still—remember the lady whose pants were inside-out?!  I love how the same things annoyed us.

You were supposed to teach me to sew.  But let’s be serious, I wouldn’t do my own sewing anyway.  Did I teach you anything?  Is there anything you didn’t get to tell me?  Well, besides the messages that you are flooding me with now… shout out to my Spirit Junkies and other spiritual running buddies who have helped me further develop my gifts over the past year.  I “hear” so clearly now.

Your babies are doing great.  MM clipped their nails on Saturday.  Your garden is gorgeous.  Your world misses you.  You are screaming in my left ear right now—I hear you, love!!  I will keep living the dream for us both.

Amira

“They” say the energy goes where it needs to go—distance and time are not limitations, unless you treat them that way.  I’ve done my share of Distance Reiki sessions and I often “channel” furbabies from afar, but last weekend was my first official leap around the world: a Reiki session with a doggy in Australia!

I met Amira’s mom through an online spiritual business group.  We scheduled our session (after I was able to wrap my head around the time difference!) a few days in advance and I was ever-so excited to work with this cute pup.  About a half an hour before our session commenced, I sat in meditation to connect with Amira and her mom’s energy.  I anointed myself with Believe essential oil blend, my signature scent.  I connected with three concepts, restlessness, the number 3 and thoughtfulness, which I presented to Amira’s mom at the start of our session.

We joined together via Zoom at the appointed time, breakfast for them, almost bedtime for me and I explained how I “work” and get messages.  We talked about the restlessness I picked up on through my channeling, probably not uncommon for dogs in general, but Amira’s mom connected to my description.  The number 3, a beautifully spiritual number, didn’t particularly stand out to her but we let that be.  Then the thoughtfulness… I got the “message” that Amira is thoughtful, like if she were a person, she would be the type who remembers everyone’s birthdays.  Her mom liked that!  Super sweet.

Amira’s mom asked me to check in on Amira’s anxiety, particularly when she leaves the house, to make sure she’s comfortable and drinking her water.  From there, I started my direct work with Amira, who lied casually across her bed.  Starting with her crown, I felt pressure (but not pain!) and was compelled to send the word “freedom.”  I sensed a favoring of her left side and she “told” me that she likes to have her right ear scratched!

Amira transitioned into her mom’s lap at some point during our session, still comfortable and soaking in the vibes.  When working on her throat chakra, she acknowledged that she knows her mom listens to her—how beautiful!  Moving to her heart, I felt a darkness.  In our post-session conversation, I assured mom that this was NOT something scary or bad, but just something to keep an eye on, be open to… maybe get her a green toy, something to connect with the heart chakra.  On to the solar plexus, Amira feels safe and heard.  She feels a best friend energy with her mom and likes to be reminded of that.

Toward the close of our session, I connected strongly to Amira’s root chakra, checking in on the concerns mom expressed before we got started.  Amira knows she will be with her mom forever and she grips onto their relationship.  She also “showed” me the number 4.  I closed the session, beaming tons of love, light and energy for the greatest good of Amira, her family and their home.  I shared what I “heard” and “got” through the Reiki with Amira’s mom and thanked her for this opportunity to work together.  A beautiful family, a beautiful session.  Much Love.